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Arts & Culture

CAM Review: Danville Chadbourne at Gallery Nord

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Danville Chadbourne, The Inevitable Invention of Mythology – Equilibrium, 2010-12, acrylic on wood and earthenware. Photo: Conan Chadbourne



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Standing stones and megaliths (like Stonehenge) are celestial markers that have stood since Neolithic times. Topped with a cross-rock, like a stone table, dolmens top ancient graves in Europe, India, and the Middle East. Piles of stones known as cairns line the routes of ancient walkways through mountains in Britain like street signs from a missing era. Danville Chadbourne explores the universal need to set signs in the earth with an exhibition of new three- and two-dimensional works at Gallery Nord that continues his decades-old art practice with subtle embellishments. Entitled simply, "New Works," the collection of several dozen pieces encompasses both floors of the the gallery and the outdoor spaces as well. It is good that it does, as the series of works represented creates a cross-talk in Chadbourne's forest of signs.

Ceramic and concrete pillars on ringed bases have forked tops that seem earthen memories of his wood sculptures made from the branching trunks of chinaberry trees. Checkered squares made of paper or wood are his Meditative Devices, pattern-making grids bedecked with metal, shell, or paint. Series of bullet shapes and orbs are his mountains; ravaged signs peek through broken surfaces, paintings that might be leaves from a hidden codex. Though Chadbourne's red, green, and turquoise palette echoes Mayan colors (he has travelled repeatedly in the Yucatán, as well as China and other lands), and his vocabulary of surface designs seems to form glyphs that translate some forgotten language, all his devices and forms are personal — not blatant lifting of someone else's cultural baggage, but memories of memories traced. The seemingly aged surfaces rip like an abstract homage to forgery, but what is art if not artifice? And memories are theft, a hoard that can only be kept when given.

Danville ChadbourneNew Works

Free
12-5pm Wed-Sat
Gallery Nord
2009 NW Military Hwy
(210) 348-0088
On view to May 5

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